After the last Penguins vs Flyers game Mike Milbury made his usual, off the cuff remarks about the behavior of people involved. Dan Bylsma as a player made a great pressbox decoration, and most nights the only way he’d get on the score sheet was if he sat on it. He didn’t rarely played even ten minutes a night, and in 429 games he had a staggering 19 goals. By comparison, Georges Laraque out scored Bylsma on a goals per game basis by almost 2 to 1, and had long stays with teams where he saw at least some game action on a regular basis. As a coach, Bylsma has proven nothing. He took over a team of prima-donnas who spent most of their season throwing a coach under the bus with 25 games left, then in the playoffs he plays a goalie who allows the most goals, and finishes with a shabby sv%. He’s not taken a professional team end to end and won.
What exactly can Lemieux complain about? He’s played with and employed two of the dirtiest players in NHL history. Matt Cooke appears to have cleaned up his act, we’ll see. But hows many knee-on-knee hits, head shots and slewfoots did he commit before that? That’s his legacy. He can score 100 goals each of the next five seasons and ending careers and putting guys on injured reserve will be what he’s know for. This is a guy who was allowed to wear the “A” for this team well before he cleaned up. Ulf Sammuelsson is another of those players who seemed to exist to make sure the referees whistles worked and that the penalty bench never got too cold. As a player, he made a hell of an advertisement for people to let their sons do mixed martial arts or rugby which was safer than playing against this guy.
While no one in the world denies Sidney Crosby is immensely talented. Depending on your taste in playing styles he may even be the most talented player in the NHL. But there are three other things he is too. 1st is a diver. He’s taken quite a few. He’s not achieved Montreal Canadiens level, but he can more than hold his own.
2nd He’s dirty:
That’s a clear two on one, where he’s the third man in, throwing punches at the back of the head of someone who’s already engaged with another player.
And 3rd he is a whiner. He talks to the officials more often than any player I’ve seen in the past two decades of watching the NHL. His pathological insistence on his own sainthood is incredible. But when you come right down to it, given the tactics he routinely employs on the ice, the only reason he doesn’t spend more time in the penalty box is because someone prevents it. Even with whoever preventing more penalties, and rightly deserved suspensions he’s already the third most penalized player in his draft class. He’s nearly doubled up on Paul Stastny who is fourth, and sits behind only Steve Downie, and Jared Boll. Downie is a loose cannon, and Boll is reasonably skilled enforcer who drops the gloves a lot.
While I certainly don’t agree with even half of what Milbury says, he got it right the first time. His comments on the Penguins were spot in. If the don’t like the way people speak about them, they need to change the teams identity.